Hawkesbury City Council and The Hills Shire Council confirm that the Lower Portland Ferry service will continue to operate despite reports to the contrary. The ferry is co-funded by both Councils with Hawkesbury City Council administering the management of the service. Hawkesbury City Council has agreed to terms with the current operator that will see the contract extended until September 2024.
Currently, the Lower Portland Ferry is the only vehicle ferry on the Hawkesbury River that is not fully funded by the NSW Government. Council is of the view that the service should be funded by the NSW Government in the same way as all other ferries on the Hawkesbury River are managed and funded. The Hills Shire Council supports these terms with the current operator as discussions between Hawkesbury City Council, The Hills Shire Council and the NSW Government continue to secure a longer-term funding arrangement.
Mayor of Hawkesbury City Council Sarah McMahon thanked the community for their patience.
“The Lower Portland Ferry is a critical link between the Hawkesbury and The Hills for hundreds of residents,” Mayor McMahon said.
“Council was not going to allow this important ferry link to close. As with many contract negotiations these things can take time to finalise, and I thank the community for their patience and understanding.
“I was disappointed with the unnecessary alarm that was caused. Residents can be assured that both Hawkesbury and The Hills councils will always act in the community’s best interests,” Mayor McMahon added.
Mayor of The Hills Shire Dr Peter Gangemi expressed his appreciation for the service the ferry provides.
“The riverside areas of The Hills are a truly amazing part of our community and assisting our local residents and businesses is very important to me,” Mayor Gangemi said.
“The Lower Portland Ferry will continue to operate, and there was never any question to the contrary. Our Council has total commitment to our residents.
“I pride myself on being an open and transparent Mayor, and as always, we will keep our residents updated on all matters relevant to our community. It is hoped that the public can continue to take correspondence from Council as its primary source of information,” Mayor Gangemi added.
It is expected that there will be a period in the next few months when the ferry will be temporarily closed for a major and unavoidable maintenance overhaul. This is a normal process and is required every 3 – 5 years as a requirement of both the licencing body and Hawkesbury City Council’s insurers. There is a current tender in the market for the overhaul of the ferry. Once a contractor is appointed and dates are confirmed, Hawkesbury City Council will be in a position to communicate further details on timing to the community.
Source: Hawkesbury City Council